Focusing on Skills

When I was still at school, Mum (who liked to throw out random pieces of advice), said “if you see a word and you don’t know what it means, look it up in the dictionary.” Sometimes there’s something you’re too lazy or tired to check; it’s just one of those things. Other times you just assume a word means something that it doesn’t! But 3 times out of 4, remembering her advice, I would make myself look it up. I never regretted the few minutes spent.

I found myself thinking of that just now when I said to Pete that the reviewer of my new lens was correct about it being light and good (I’m happy with it), but at the same time having some focusing issues with my Canon 350D. I’m in my first few days of using this lens, and have noticed that already. It doesn’t happen a lot, only when focusing on certain things (like repeated patterns, I guess). It doesn’t know what to focus on the most, and it zooms in and out helplessly, and finally, when you think you’ve stopped in a good place and try to take the shot, the camera refuses, saying it can’t focus properly.

I rather wish it wouldn’t care…

But it does. The only way to overcome that is to focus manually. To embark on that, you switch from AF to MF on the lens. We’re not supposed to manually focus when it’s in autofocus, according to the instruction manual… it doesn’t say why not. Fortunately I never even thought of trying!

The first time I tried manual focus, it didn’t seem to work; nothing at all got sharp in the viewfinder. I grumbled about that, and thought “oh well,” and used a clumsy workaround, which was: using autofocus till it got to a place I was happy with, stopping, switching the lens to MF, and taking the shot.

I suppose it was good enough for the situation, as I didn’t want to step away from where I was, but am I going to use the workaround for the rest of my days? Or am I going to check the instruction manual and figure out what I did wrong?

The second option is the easiest and most time-saving in the long run, though sometimes you have to shame yourself into doing it! I have now confirmed what I was doing wrong when failing to focus manually (using the zoom ring instead of the focusing ring; talk about confused!) There was a time when I didn’t even know why my camera was refusing to take the shot, which it sometimes did with my old lens as well. For months and years I just muddled through and did what I could. But now I’ve looked it up and understand. It’s like a weight off my mind.

Meanwhile here’s another shot of Samson through the new lens. I was trying to underexpose so that the flowers (and other pretty things) weren’t quite so washed out, but as a result the grass looks a lot darker than I’m happy with. I could lighten it in Photoshop but can’t be bothered today.

Lazy Photographer Syndrome strikes again…

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5 responses

  1. What an incredible tongue with a black stripe!

  2. Ah, he looks adorabubble.

  3. He would agree. 🙂

  4. Gorgeous photo.

  5. He looks soft and fuzzy, doesn’t he! Not as squishy as he looks, though… feels like a tightly coiled spring.

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